A steady stream of Fashion Week street style has inundated our feeds this month, and though there’s plenty to comb through, annotate, and pin, there’s been one constant throughout the stylish New York, London, and Milan crowds: Apparently we all should be investing in a blazer for fall—one in gray plaid, to be specific.
The blazer might feel like the most generic silhouette—the one you’re told to invest in when you’re going to your first job interviews, that you’re more likely to spot in a buzzing financial district than on the jet-set fashion crowd. And yet it’s the polished shape—with its sharp shoulders and longline fit, in a sleek plaid—that keeps coming up again and again during Fashion Week.
We’ve seen the blazer draped over the shoulders of a street-style star standing in the middle of traffic. We’ve eyed it on a model off-duty, over jeans and a T-shirt. We’ve admired it from afar as part of a late-summer skirt suit, in gray, made to feel day-ready with a cheeky graphic top. Surprisingly, the gray blazer has already proven itself to be the most versatile garment for fall 2017.
Though the gray plaid blazer has runway precedent (Balenciaga and Tibi have both incorporated it into recent collections), its resurgence in street style isn’t really specific to a designer having their fashion credits sprinkled all over the show-going crowds. We can track down the exact brands bloggers and models are wearing through Instagram, but it doesn’t necessarily matter. It’s less about what the label reads (or how much you paid for it, for that matter), and more about seeking out the clean shape, the right-at-the-hipbone length, and that classic gray grid that you can wear with pretty much everything in your closet.
There are plenty of trends that are so pervasive during Fashion Week that we become pretty much convinced they’ll become the new day-to-day uniform—fringe-hem jeans, pierced handbags, pointed-toe kitten heels…. The list goes on. Most of the time, though, they remain squarely in the “fashion person” camp—becoming one of the pieces that crop up consistently, though exclusively, at industry events. But we have reason to believe this one’s different.
First, there’s the fact that we’re talking about a gray plaid blazer, a garment that pretty much everyone has come in contact with at some point in their lives. Then, there’s its universal appeal: Someone who works a 9-to-5 with a business dress code is just as likely to buy it as someone who simply wants a light jacket to wear with their jeans before breaking out the heavy-duty outerwear. Plus, it’s not a “fashion” item that ends up being cost-prohibitive: Sure, you can buy one with a three-figure price tag, but you could find one you like just as much at Target or at your local thrift store (because what better occasion to channel your inner Working Girl? ).
The gray plaid blazer isn’t tied to a certain tier of designer, nor is it a trend built on exclusivity. We’re just getting reacquainted with a garment we’ve known for a while. And what a sweet reunion it is.